Hamilton Journal News : 2021-01-08

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C3 FRIDAY, JANUARY 8, 2021 | COMPLETE. IN-DEPTH. DEPENDABLE. SPORTS NFL Ex-Bengals coach Lewis interviews for Jets’ vacancy ByDennisWa­szakJr. Associated­Press The NewYork Jets interviewe­d former Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis on Thursday for their headcoachi­ng vacancy. Lewis is currently on former Jets coach Herman Edwards’ staff at Arizona State as the SunDevils’ co-defensive coordinato­r. The 62-year-old Lewis is the second knowncandi­date withwhomth­eJetshavec­ompleted a video interview. The team also spoke to Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinato­r Eric Bieniemy on Wednesday. Generalman­agerJoeDou­glas said earlier thisweek that the Jets would “cast a very wide net” in their search for a new coach after firing AdamGase on Sunday night after two seasons. New York has asked for permission to speak to several more candidates, so this is just the beginning of what will be a comprehens­ive process for the team that has the NFL’s longest playoff drought at 10 seasons. Lewis led the Bengals to the postseason seven times, including five straight years, as coach from 2003-18 and has a 131-129-3 regular-season mark. His biggest shortcomin­g in Cincinnati was being unable to advance past the first round as the Bengals were 0-7 under Lewis in the playoffs. But Lewiswas able to keep the Bengals in the postseason mix, something the Jets are looking to at least do after going 2-14 this season and 9-23 under Gase in two NEWYORK— Marvin Lewis years. NewYork’s last playoff appearance cameduring the 2010 seasonunde­rRexRyan. Lewis has a lengthy coaching resume, which began in 1981 as Idaho State’s linebacker­s coach. Thatwas followed by stints as an assistant at Long Beach State, NewMexico and theUnivers­ity of Pittsburgh before he got his first NFL gig as the Steelers’ linebacker­s coach under Bill Cowher. Lewis became Baltimore’s defensive coordinato­r in 1996, overseeing the Ravens’ shutdown defense in 2000when theywon the Super Bow. He remained in that position for six years — including twowhenDou­glas worked in the Ravens’ scouting department — before moving to Washington to serve in that same role and asassistan­theadcoach­under Steve Spurrier in 2002. He was hired by the Bengals the following season and led them to four AFC North titles. Lewis was also voted the AP NFL Coach of the Year in 2009. He was hired by Edwards as a special adviser in 2019 and promoted to co-defensive coordinato­r with former Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce last year. Alabama coach Nick Saban (left) said postponing Monday’s national championsh­ip game against Ohio State has been discussed. Itwould present issues, but player safety comes first, he said. ASSOCIATED PRESS COLLEGEFOO­TBALL Saban confirms discussion­s related to postponing game provided another update on the status of wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, who hasn’t played since suffering an ankle injury in October. “He has been able to practice some,” Saban said. “His status for the game is still relatively up in the air, and it will probably be a gameday decision.” season, a lot of guys that are nickedupa little bit. Another week of practicewo­uld have beenmuchmo­re difficult for those guys probably. January 18th is a day people got to decide whether they’re going to go out for the draft or not. So just thewhole timing of thewhole thingwould have been a tough management. But I would have put player safety on either team as the most important factor in this decision.” There were multiple reportsTue­sdayofOhio­State dealing with positiveCO­VID19 tests. At the same time, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told reporters the team was still practicing and planning to play Monday. kind of does his job. In high school, he was reallyhumb­le for being a top recruit, and at the time I wasn’t very highly recruited and he always had my back in interviews or anything like that. I really appreciate him and his family, and I’m just really happy for how he’s played throughout his career at Ohio State.” Wade called it a blessing to be able to play against Jones. “I’ve ( known) Mac for a long time,” Wade said. “MoneyMakin­gMac, that’s what we called him. He is a confident guy. He’s a hard worker and great quarterbac­k, and I’m really looking forward to playing against him.” ByDavidJab­lonski StaffWrite­r Alabama coach Nick Saban confirmed Thursday there were discussion­s about postponing the national championsh­ip game because of COVID-19 issues, though as of Thursday afternoon, the gamewas still scheduled to take place Monday night in Miami. Saban also said there would be “difficult management issues” for his program if they had to change the date against Ohio State. “Our school is starting this nextweek,” Saban said. “We would have had 35,000 students coming back here. We’ve played 12 games this year, sowehave a lot of guys thathave groundthro­ughthe COLUMBUS — High school connection: Alabama quarterbac­k Mac Jones and Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade are both fromJackso­nville, Fla., and played in 7-on-7 games together in high school. “He comes from a great family, and he’s a technician,” Jones said, “and he’s kind of a perfection­ist in his ownway. Hecelebrat­eswhen hemakes great plays, but he’s more of a quiet guy and just Contact this reporter at david. jablonski@coxinc.com. Injury update: Saban Buckeyes NFLNOTES Bills listWRs Diggs, Beasley questionab­le for playoff opener continued fromC1 our way,” Day said. Beyond that, Day said therewasno­updateonqu­arterback Justin Fields, who played most of the win over Clemson last week in pain after taking a helmet to the side from Tigers linebacker James Skalski. “Wedon’t really give injury updates,” Day said. Fields followed Day in the virtual interview room and removed any doubt he would play against Alabama onMonday night, but he did not offermuch clarificat­ion on how he felt. “I’ll be good by Monday night,” he said. The quarterbac­k also offered a defense of how hishealth situation was dealt with by Ohio State teamdoctor­s, including head physician Dr. Jim Borchers, in the Sugar Bowl. “I have full trust in the trainers and Dr. Borchers,” Fields said. “I wasn’t hesitant about anything they gave me. They handled it the way I would want it to be handled.” with 127 catches for 1,535 yards, was added to the injury report thisweek after apparently being hurt in a 56-26 season- ending win over Miami on Sunday. Associated­Press The playing status of the Bills’ two top receivers, Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley, is uncertain for Buffalo’s wild-card playoffgam­eagainst the Indianapol­is Colts on Saturday. Both were listed as questionab­le after practicing on a limited basis Thursday. For Beasley, who has missed one game, it marked the first time he’s practiced since hurting his knee in the fourth quarter of a 38-9 win at New England on Dec. 28. Diggs, meantime, returned after not practicing­Wednesday because of an injury to his oblique muscle. Coach Sean McDermott providedno­definitive­update whether either will be able to play. Diggs, who led the NFL ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — 49ers’ pioneering assistant won’t return Offensive assistant Katie Sowers, the first female coach tomake it to the Super Bowl, will not be returning to the San Francisco 49ers in 2021. A person familiar with the situation said Thursday that the 34-year-old Sowers will be leaving coachKyle Shanahan’s staff, where sheworked closely with receivers coach Wes Welker. The BayAreaNew­sGroup first reported Sowers’ departure and said she is looking for an expanded role on another team. Ohio State quarterbac­k Justin Fields leaves the field after the win against Clemson that put the Buckeyes intoMonday’s national championsh­ip game. ASSOCIATED PRESS “I putmy full trust in those guys,” Fields said Thursday. “Itwas not like, ‘Oh they just shot him up and sent him back out there.’ It wasn’t like that. I think they did a After the game, he said he wasn’t surewhat the diagnosis was but that he had just received two shots for pain and gone back in the game after missing one play. full analysis ofmy injury and what it was and I was really comfortabl­e with that.” Contact this reporterat Marcus.Hartman@coxinc. Browns night. Do you want to do it?’ I said ‘Absolutely,’” Priefer said. “So I did not havemuch time to think about it. “This time there was a little bit more time to think about it, but Iwas not caught off guard by anything. The thing that I knew, the thing that I learned the most is that you have to have good people around you, and we do have good people around. Alex will do a great job running the offense, (defensive coordinato­r) Joe ( Woods) will continue to do a great job running the defense and all our coaches will step up, our players will step up as they normally do as they have done all season long.” Priefer said the biggest challenge that night with the Vikings was wearing headphones, which he said he hadn’t had on since he coached defensive tackles and special teams at Northern Illinois in 200001. Priefer said the Vikings made fun of him for how much he took them off. thinkwe’ve done a great job with that thus far andwe’re going to continue to do so.” Priefer said Stefanski let his staff know back in the spring of his contingenc­y plans andwhowoul­d step in if the coronaviru­s pandemic forced Stefanski to miss one or more games. Priefer has assumed this role one other time in his 19-year NFL career. That came in Week 13 of 2016, when Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer underwent an emergency eye procedure before a “Thursday Night Football” game against the Dallas Cowboys. With Stefanski also on that staff, the Vikings lost 17-15 to a 10-1 Cowboys team. “CoachZimme­rhademerge­ncy eye surgery the day before the game, so I did not knowuntil after the mass on Wednesday night. (Vikings GeneralMan­ager) Rick Spielman grabbedme right after thatmeetin­g and said, ‘Oh, by the way, you are going be the head coach tomorrow it surreal? I guess. I haven’t really thought about that part of it because there’s a lot of work to be done. But maybe someday we’ll look back and think about it that way. But right now, it’s business as usual, andwe’ve got to go get a win.” COVID-19 has racked the Browns since Dec. 26, when they learned theywould be without their top four receivers for a Dec. 27 road game against the New York Jets. The team still has several players and coaches on the reserve/COVID-19 list. “It’s like every morning you wake up and say what else can you deal with,” Priefer said. “Everything’s been different. But fromthe leadership with ( General Manager) Andrew (Berry) and Kevin on down to the coaches and even the players, we’ve been so adaptable and so flexible, we’ve been so resilient in fighting through every piece of adversity that we’ve had to deal with this year, and I Safety Harrison to sit after positive test continued fromC1 Priefer is a Cleveland native whose father Chuck was a longtime college and NFLcoach. He said he hasn’t thought about how surreal it is for a Northeast Ohio native to be in charge as the Brownsmake their first playoff appearance since 2002. “I feel awful for Kevin. I feel awful for Joel. I feel awful for the other players who aren’t going to be involved, the other coacheswho­aren’t going to be involved, because this means something to everybody,” Priefer said. “We’re kind of a big family — coaches and players and the organizati­on— andwhen you don’t have everybody there, I feel for those guys, especially­Kevin being a firstyear head coach. “I knowhe doesn’twant it to be about him, but a lot of it is about him andwhat he’s accomplish­ed, what we’ve accomplish­ed together. Is It’s another huge blow for the Browns, who have been rocked by positive COVID-19 tests over the past three weeks. The Browns got linebacker B. J. Goodson back from the list onWednesda­y and then Sendejo, but many key players remain on it, and the Browns kept their facility closed again Thursday while they worked through the contact tracing. Harrison, acquired in a tradewith the Jaguars on Sept. 3 for a fifth-round pick, suffered a shoulder injury on the first play of the 27-25 victory over the Jaguars on Nov. 29 and sat out the next four games. ByMaryKayC­abot cleveland.com TheBrowns hoped to get through the week without any more star players going on the COVID-19 reserve list, but it wasn’t to be. Starting safety Ronnie Harrison tested positive for COVID-19 Thursday and will sit out the wild card game against the Steelers Sunday night. With the 10- day minimumiso­lation period, he might also have to miss the next playoff game if the Browns advance. Safety AndrewSend­ejo was activated off the list and will be able to play. The game is still on, a league spokesman said. 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